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A learning culture that supports diversity

With a highly diverse workforce, we adapt learning and development to the needs of our people – ensuring they gain the skills they need to succeed and stay safe.

ISS Austria – Digital Learning

In June 2020, ISS Austria embarked on an ambitious project to support digital learning amongst frontline service workers. Focusing on a group of 500 ISS cleaning specialists, we worked with a project sponsor – the Austrian Chamber of Labour’s digitalisation effort, AK Extra (in German) – to design a series of learning solutions tailored to our employees’ needs, with particular focus on non-native workers, the digitally illiterate and an ageing workforce.

“Creating the workplaces of tomorrow depends on smart digitalisation,” says Erich Steinreiber, Country Manager of ISS Austria. “As a people company, we understand that each solution we develop must take into consideration the needs of a broad and diverse group of people – including both online learning programmes and alternatives to digital development. This attention to our people’s needs and skills is what makes us an attractive employer and what makes us particularly strong in delivering high-quality services to customers.”

Austria’s project highlights our commitment to a strong learning culture. Through digital and in-person learning and development programmes across the globe, we continually invest in our diverse workforce to help them gain the skills they need to succeed in their jobs, while strengthening the conditions for their health and wellbeing.

“We wanted to help our frontline staff develop the necessary skills in a safe and simple way,” says Petra Bisanovic, Team Leader of Learning & Development at ISS Austria. “There’s a huge need for different channels of learning. Each and every employee deserves to know about ISS’s high standards – not only to do their job, but also to protect their health.”

Each and every employee deserves to know about ISS’s high standards – not only to do their job, but also to protect their health.

Petra Bisanovic, Team Leader of Learning & Development, ISS Austria

Collaborating with experts across departments in ISS, Petra and her team came up with three solutions:

An ergonomics course aimed at the ageing workforce to reduce body strain and ensure correct posture while cleaning. Here, cleaning staff were given sensors to attach to themselves, while a team of ergonomic specialists studied the findings to see which muscles and ligaments were under strain. Using these findings, ISS made instructional videos to demonstrate to staff how to best complete their jobs without overloading their bodies.

A series of e-learning courses to provide easy access regardless of where people are located (or if Covid-19 restrictions made in-person training difficult) Through a combination of videos, quizzes and live online learning, staff were taught key skills for their jobs. To meet the needs of non-native speakers and the digitally illiterate, text was replaced with images and colours to simplify the learning process.

An audio learning tool designed to provide an alternative to digital learning for e.g. adopting new cleaning techniques. The tiptoi® (in German), as it’s called, was developed in collaboration with the game-and-toy producer Ravensburger. Tapping an image on the ISS course materials prompts the device to play the relevant text in the learners’ native language. This device provided employees with an interactive, offline experience – offering a more relaxed learning environment.

“While the ergonomics and e-learning courses proved effective, we quickly noticed that some of our older or less tech-savvy employees were uncomfortable with tablets or touchscreens,” says Petra. “The tiptoi® offers a smart and simple alternative for educating and onboarding new staff.”

Each solution was rolled out in six languages: German, English, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish, Romanian and Hungarian. Early results reveal that the project has been received with great success, with the audio learning tool, in particular, popular amongst frontline staff. By 2022, ISS Austria aims to roll out the project to its entire 6,500 frontline workforce.  

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